leap into the void
In the 1990s I not only got tired of Klein’s smug approval of his own joke, but of the po-faced seriousness of fans of his who needed to remind me he hadn’t really jumped; as if I might not understand that. I did understand it, but what I felt too ashamed and too inarticulate to explain was this: at that time I knew of punters who had based off the top of a well known limestone gorge into a five square foot gap between boulders, a margin of error that promised nothing physically good if you missed. Unless it could be reinscribed as a celebration of the kinaesthetics, not to say the neurology, of a choice like that, Klein’s artefact seemed embarrassing: empty, bourgeois and academic. Academic, that is, in the sense of being beside the point. It was just another self-congratulatory gesture in the face of real things. In the end, for me, at the time, this became a question of who you would choose to be your shaman: a New Realist or someone who would jump off the top of the Cheddar Gorge to see if they would actually be void at the end of it. How do you explain all that to someone who isn’t really going to listen? Well, you don’t, and as a result you suffer the consequences of one more cultural traffic collision in a long and inreasingly boring life of them. Now, of course, when every act is carefully-Kleined porn of itself, it’s immaterial. We do these things but at the same time we counterfeit doing them. The two performances have been inextricable for years. By now our sleight of hand is magnificent.